This is the third article in the series of articles I will write about grief and duel processes. If you have missed the second one, here is the link for it: https://chatowl.com/blog/907/grief-and-duel-processes-part-truth-about-five-stages-grief. This article is a short review of the famous book: On death and dying by Elizabeth Kübler Ross and the “stages” of grief which, have become a major source of misunderstood concepts that have made grieving for many people more difficult than it already is.
One of the biggest reasons on why I think that there was a lot of confusion about the five “stages” of grief in the first place is because back in the time of the publication of the book, having access to information was a lot harder than it is today. Now, the problem is that there is too much access to information and that has helped to perpetuate these wrong concepts and helped them to survive. In order to this to stop, there are many questions to be asked and answered and it is why I decided to write these most basic questions and answer them in the most general way so, we can start together to set the record straight regarding grief and duel processes.
1. How should I grieve?
It might sound like a very unnecessary and pointless question, but the truth is that no one has the answer to this and that is why it is so important to ask it. No one can tell you how you should grieve and therefore, the only correct way of doing this is your way. This means that you must be honest with yourself and let yourself feel like you want to feel, for how long you want to feel. If you want to feel sad and cry, you should do it. If you are more of the kind of people that does not cry and prefers to be alone and see the roof, you should do this. There is no better way than your way. Grieve as you feel is the correct way.
2. How long should I grieve?
For as long as you must. A duel process is unpredictable and it should be understood as a process that is not going to end, rather, you are more likely to learn how to deal with that loss. Although reading “learn to deal with it” might not be the most encouraging thing to read now, I promise you it will make more sense when you finish reading this article. Until then, keep in mind that what you should “get over” with is the destabilizing pain that you feel the first period of time after the loss, not the grief that you feel whenever you lose an important person on the long run.
3. Is grief bad/good?
For answering this question I will revisit something I had already said in an article a few weeks ago and it’s that some kind of behaviors are not to be looked for in a “present - absent” parameter, but should be placed on a spectrum. What this means is that too much of something good might be bad and a little of something bad might actually help.
So, is grief bad? Not at all. As long as we don’t “over do it”. What does this mean? It means that it’s okay to feel bad and do whatever we feel is going to make us feel better as long as it doesn’t interfere with our normal life or our physical integrity. Needing a day or two while on a duel processes is something normal. Not going to your work for two week is not. The important thing to remind while on a duel processes is to not allow the time to go by without healing the wounds the loss left us. This does not mean that there is a time limit for it, just try to make an advance as little as it might seem every day.
Is grief good? Yes. There is no other way for you to “get rid” of the pain a loss can generate you if you do not do something with it. Doing something with it means to elaborate all the pain that you are feeling and then make something out of it. The best way to do this is by expressing it and that has infinite ways to be done. I will dedicate a full article to this one thing, that’s why I’m going to leave it like this for now.
4. Is there an “end” to grief?
No and yes.
No, because I personally think that “the end of grieving” would be, in essence, not caring anymore. So I think it’s pretty difficult to stop carrying for someone you loved, death or alive. Maybe a very important ex comes to your mind and even that is okay to reminisce. Having said this, this does not mean that every time this person comes to your mind you begin to cry, or become angry or sad. And this is the other part of the answer…
Remembering someone you grieved about and not having some big, uncontainable emotions wakened by it, is to be on the other side. It is the moment when you have, like said before, “learned to deal with it” that you can say that you have accepted the fact that this person is not by your side anymore and moved on.
Of course, this things are very much easier said than done. There are lots of different kind of losses and there are different ways to deal with them. This is why the next article of this series will focus on that. Having said this, talking about your loss is always important, especially because letting the emotions flow is a good way to start whatever healing process we might need to start. So, if you are going through a duel process and think you might need some help, you can always reach out to me and I will be glad to schedule a session with you.